As Kuala Lumpur gears up for the #TangkapMO1 rally led by a student group to press for action against the “Malaysian Official 1” – named by US authorities in its uncovering of some US$3.5 billion of embezzlement of the 1MDB fund – Amnesty International has urged Putrajaya to stop harrassing activists.
“Amnesty International calls on the authorities to ensure that the organizers and those who plan to attend the rally must be allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and must not be arrested, harassed or intimidated, for merely organizing or attending a peaceful gathering.
“Furthermore any limitations need to be in line with international standards,” said the global rights group in a statement.
Amnesty also condemned the arrest of three students last Saturday, after they entered a university in Perak to promote the rally.
The rally tomorrow seeks to put pressure on the government to reopen the 1MDB investigations, which were closed after Attorney-General Tan Sri Apandi Ali declared Datuk Seri Najib Razak had not done anything wrong in receiving some RM2.6 billion as “donation” on behalf of Umno.
Najib has admitted receiving the money, but denied reports that it was from 1MDB-linked entities.
Meanwhile, Amanah said the police should accomodate the protest tomorrow and avoid provocations, so that the rally ends peacefully as planned.
Organisers have urged participants to gather at two spots in the city centre, outside the Sogo shopping mall and the National Mosque, before they march to Dataran Merdeka.
City Hall has so far refused to grant permission to gather there, a condition cited by police to allow the rally.
Amanah’s legal bureau deputy chairman Wan Anwar Wan Ibrahim said the police’s responsiblity to ensure the protest goes smoothly, is clearly spelt under Section 8 of the Peaceful Assembly Act.
“We believe both organisers and the authorities have taken steps to ensure the rally will be conducted peacefully,” said Wan Anwar.